Mount Frontenac – More For Less
By E. Nolan
There are few places in Minnesota more beautiful than the Mississippi River valley in the fall. And guess what – sad but true for golfers – fall is already right around the corner. Golfers are able to take advantage of that autumn beauty like few other hobbyists on earth, by being out there; smack dab in the middle of it all. And at Mount Frontenac you couldn’t get more for less than you more or less do. Let me put it another way… Mount Frontenac delivers panoramic visual drama, the aforementioned river valley beauty, at a higher level than most others physically (topographically) can. And, thanks to their affiliation with Treasure Island Casino, Mount Frontenac can give you these spectacular views and natural amenities at a much lower cost – at a much greater value.
Yes, the casino draws from all over, particularly from the Twin Cities and Rochester, and the golf course is able to snag a great deal of their own business from those sources. Gaming and golfing routinely make for perfect partners, filling daytime and nighttime hours with diverse fun. At Mount Frontenac there is plenty for the visiting golfer to gamble on before they ever get to the tables. A quick tour around the course reveals the outdoor risk and reward you’ll face.
I find it difficult to concentrate on golf in environments like these. That is an unforgivable error – score wise – at Mount Frontenac. The slightest lapse in focus can have devastating numerical consequences, thanks to the many slopes and valleys, twists, turns and various hazards. Each of those elements contributes greatly to the natural platform on which you get to play here, but they also each merit their own unique strategic concern. The fairways are lined with tall trees, swaying in the cliff top breeze. The wooden walls seemingly have a greater magnetic pull on spherical objects at this elevation. The hills are alive, bouncing this way and that… rolling, tumbling… and the greens always seem to be dancing – managing to keep your ball away from whatever corner the pin is in. Though it sounds cliché, you almost literally can feel the earth move under your feet, and it’s hard enough to golf when you’re standing still.
Straight and narrow is the game best suited for this course. Distance control is also essential. My favorite hole on the entire course actually happens to be the first, a slight dogleg downhill par 4. Dogleg lefts are the norm, in fact, and another great one presents itself at #9. A built-up green, on a ridge, with a pond backing it up makes for a beautiful but challenging approach.
You don’t realize how open the front is until you get to the back. But by now you should be able to handle it. As the course tightens, the drama amps up, and the peaks and valleys just get that much more dynamic. Take a moment on the 13th green to really soak in where you are. You are essentially at the summit of southern Minnesota golf. The marsh-guarded 16th caps off a thrilling highlight reel. It’s a round you won’t soon forget, if for no other reason than your surroundings. I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to unwind at the restaurant afterwards, take a drink outside – take it all in a little bit more. The rest of the world can wait a little. Make the most of your time here.
It’s no secret, and no surprise, that Mount Frontenac is a spectacular host for weddings. Who wouldn’t want their special day to unfold in a stadium (natural amphitheater) like this one? Throw in the expansive clubhouse and banquet hall and they manage to keep their calendar booked with events of all sizes, from graduations to rehearsal dinners to the main events – indoor or outdoor – rain or shine. It’s worth noting that I’ve heard several local wedding photographers claim it as one of their favorite photo-shoot spots. That alone should tell you something.
You can get a taste of the beauty – of the stage – by visiting their website. There’s a photo gallery, and some great jaw-dropping shots. But pictures are no substitute for presence. Experience Mount Frontenac for yourself. You might not win at the tables. But you can always win here.